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The power of a will

22/09/2017
by Glenda du Toit
Columns

The right to life shall be respected and protected. This statement is enshrined in the Constitution of The Republic of Namibia’s Chapter 3, Article 6. When it comes to life and death decisions or when individuals feel that they still want their decisions to be respected, a will or a living will draft and signed by the individual, gives their ?nal wishes legal authority.

A will

Life is unpredictable and therefore drafting a will is essential. People accumulate assets during their lifetime with their hard earned money. These assets may have sentimental value to their families, friends and themselves. It is therefore important that they leave a valid will to ensure that these assets are distributed correctly after their passing.

“A will is a legal document in which a person, 16 years and older nominates, his/her heirs and instruct how his/her assets should be distributed after his/ her death. It is critical that a person/ company with the necessary expertise assist you in drafting a will as it will ensure that your last wishes are ful?lled,” said Bank Windhoek’s Trust and Estate’s department wills administrator, Glenda du Toit.

A living will

When a person is critically ill and foresees that they might not be able to make sound decisions for themselves at a particular time, they have the right to draft a document known as a living will. It’s a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments they would, or would not want to be administered to keep them alive, as well as other decisions such as pain management or organ donation. “It must be signed by the creator and witnesses.

Power of attorney must be granted to an individual who signs the necessary documents on behalf of the creator once he/she is unable to do so,” said Du Toit, Bank Windhoek’s Trust and Estates department specialises in drafting and safekeeping of wills, administration of estates and testamentary trusts.

The department has over had 30 years’ experience in the ?duciary ?eld and employs some of the most quali?ed staff in Namibia. In a living will, a person declares that they had carefully considered all necessary factors and were of sound mind when they made the decision.

“Their declaration will stand as a directive when they cannot take part in the decision-making of their future,” added du Toit.

Possible end-of-life care decisions that are mainly included in a living will are, namely, resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotics or antiviral medications, comfort care, organ and tissue donations.

Du Toit further said that in a will a person could make provision for a trust to ensure that their loved ones who cannot take care of themselves will be ?nancially cared for. “The trust will then care ?nancially for minor children providing proper care and maintenance, education and general well-being of the bene?ciaries,” she said.

The administrator of a trust, for instance, Bank Windhoek’s Trust and Estate department, is responsible for the correct management of the assets for the bene?t of the bene?ciaries. When a trust terminates the assets, it is then distributed to the bene?ciaries according to the will. “To have a will allows peace of mind,” concluded du Toit.